The annual JEC Automotive Conference returned to Knoxville this week for the second year with a program entirely dedicated to composites in the automotive industry. The two-day international conference brought a crowd of over 205 for a blend of high-end technical sessions and networking opportunities. The forum also hosted tabletop exhibitors including IACMI members such as The University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Techmer PM, Chomarat, Magnum Venus Products (MVP) and others.

Day one sessions covered topics such as 3d printing, lightweigting trends, and a popular session from IACMI Technical Fellow for non-destructive evaluation (NDE), Doug Adams, on the intersection of technology, analytics, and simulation and what it means for material science breakthroughs. In this engaging session, Adams discussed the potential to see, predict, and control variation at a high speed to enable manufacturing breakthroughs by ensuring the health of materials.

The focus of day two was on the wide scale use of thermoplastics in the automotive industry. Uday Vaidya, IACMI Chief Technology Officer, closed out the conference with a presentation on advances in thermoplastic polymers and composites for automotive applications. Other topics included mass production applications, development of glass/carbon hybrid compound, and a multi-scale modeling platform for a more affordable and predictable use of composites.

Weight savings and reduced cycle times are examples of the impacts realized from recent IACMI-The Composites Institute technical projects such as a B pillar project with Ford, Dow and DowAksa.

In addition to these technical sessions, Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, the regional economic development initiative led by the Knoxville Chamber, announced the launch of the Composites Coalition, a statewide initiative to catalyze interest in Tennessee’s composites assets and opportunities. Learn more about the economic development announcement here.